At O’Leary Travel – our brand is built on honesty, integrity and customer service. We are not looking for a quick sale – our future is dependent on maintaining the trust and loyalty of our clients. We promise to give you the insider facts ‘warts and all’ to help you make good travel decisions in this most uncertain year for travel.
The government has announced that international travel can resume from 19th July. Does that mean I can plan a trip for departure after 19th July?
Yes, it will no longer be illegal to travel abroad.
Will travel be the same as pre-Covid?
No. There are differing levels of restrictions in place across the globe with regard to access, testing, quarantining and health guidelines. Until the pandemic is under control across the globe, you should expect some ongoing travel challenges and be prepared for them. Travel within the EU will be facilitated by the EU Digital Covid Certificate.
What is the EU Digital Covid Certificate?
The Digital Covid Certificate is the framework to ensure freedom of movement of people across the EU. The certificate will show if a passenger has been vaccinated, tested negative for Covid, or has recovered from the virus. It will be available as a paper or digital certificate and will include a QR code to secure people’s data. It will be made available free to all EU nationals and residents.
When you arrive at your destination, a certificate holder will have the same rights as citizens of the visited member state who have been vaccinated, tested or recovered. Therefore, if restrictions apply to locals, they will also apply to EU visitors. This could be restrictions such as pools not fully open, restricted access to bars, restaurants, music venues, night clubs, theme parks, attractions etc. There may be evening or weekend curfews. This is an indicative list, other restrictions may apply or be implemented by the local government at any time. However as vaccine rollouts across the EU continue, the use of localised health restrictions should reduce.
If I am NOT vaccinated, can I travel within the EU?
Yes but you will need a negative Covid test result. Some countries will only accept a PCR test, others will accept a negative antigen test. The cost of testing can be very high – at present a PCR test can cost approx. €100 per person in Ireland. It is expected that with the roll out of the Digital Covid Certificate the availability of reasonably priced testing will improve. Already some destinations are offering free testing to tourists.
CHECKLIST: Questions to ask yourself before making travel plans for this year
- Am I ok with wearing a mask and observing social distancing in public places on holidays?
- Will it affect my ability to enjoy my holiday if the pool is closed or restricted?
- Will it matter to me if bars and nightclubs are restricted?
- Can I work from home if required to quarantine on return to Ireland?
I am ready to book an EU holiday – what else do I need to think about?
Package Holiday:When you buy the component parts of your holiday at one price from a single point of sale. This gives you the highest level of consumer protection both for travel disruption and insolvency or repatriation.
Linked travel: You book the flight and are then re-directed to book accommodation. Both segments are for the same trip. This is not a package and the level of protection is significantly lower than if you bought a package holiday. It comes with limited financial protection in case the company that sold it goes bust, but complaints about each holiday service will have to be taken up with the individual suppliers.
Do it yourself: You book flight and accommodation separately with different providers. If the flight is cancelled you are entitled to a refund under EU261 (See flightrights.ie). If there is a difficulty at resort – ie increased covid restrictions/ lockdown / quarantine but the flight goes anyway, you are NOT entitled to a refund. Your accommodation terms will be set by the supplier, we recommend you always book fully refundable rates and pay by credit card.
For this summer, we recommend you book a package holiday: It will not go ahead and you will get a refund if restrictions such as lockdown or quarantine are imposed in your destination for your travel dates. You do not have this protection with linked travel or self madebookings.
Insurance: Establish if your travel insurance covers you for Covid related claims and be sure you have travel disruption cover. Specific questions to ask:
- If I get Covid and cannot travel, will my holiday costs be covered? Also my travelling companion(s)?
- If I have to self-isolate and cannot travel (close contact), will my travel costs be covered? Also my travelling companion(s)?
- If I get Covid in resort or have to self-isolate, will my extended stay and repatriation be covered? Also my travelling companion(s)?
- If the flight travels but I cannot travel because of covid restrictions in Ireland or in the destination, eg quarantine, will my travel costs be covered?
Customer support: Know who you are buying from AND what is their track record on customer service. Do they answer the phones or refer you to a chat bot? What is their jurisdiction if you wish to pursue a complaint?
Travel outside the EU?
We are advising on this on a case by case basis. There are two key points which you need to consider – the entry restrictions at destination and Department of Foreign Affairs status for the destination.
At O’Leary Travel we use our training, knowledge and expertise to help you make informed decisions and get maximum value from your travel spend. We support you at each stage of the travel process – from the selection process, booking, preparing travel documentation and we are there to support you if the unexpected happens.